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Bilingual multi-age child care to open in Castlegar

Young children in Castlegar will soon have the opportunity to learn in both of Canada's official languages in a newly renovated, multi-age child care space set to open in July 2019.

The Province is providing nearly $47,500 through its Childcare BC New Spaces Fund to support the opening of Les Roudoudous French-English Daycare.

"Diversity in child care is an important part of providing quality care options for families," said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development and MLA for Kootenay West. "It's exciting to think that children of French-speaking families will now have access to child care programming that incorporates their heritage, and that this announcement builds on the investment we are making through Childcare BC to increase accessibility and affordability for parents around the province.

Les Roudoudous owner Marie-Pier Dionne is renovating a residential property in the heart of the city to provide eight new in-home, multi-age child care spaces. Castlegar currently has an engaged French-speaking community and Les Roudoudous' French and English programming will support francophone children in the community. It will also ease the transition for English-speaking children into the French immersion kindergarten at Twin Rivers Elementary school. To further broaden children's learning, sign language will also be used throughout the day to incorporate the alphabet, children's names and songs.

"Exposing children to new linguistic and cultural opportunities at a young age is also opening new doors for so much more," said Dionne. "When children say and understand their first new words in French, their big shiny eyes and big smiles speak a thousand words and makes my heart grow."

Les Roudousdous will also offer a gardening program that will give families the opportunity to learn how to grow food, and they will be able to take fresh produce home with them. A daily snack will be available to support children from vulnerable families and Dionne will offer a monthly cooking workshop to help parents prepare easy, low-cost meals. In addition, a recycling program will help teach the children the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling as a way of life, both at the centre and at home.

"Speaking from experience, I know how beneficial it is in our global economy to have a second language," said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. "It's wonderful that families in Castlegar can make the choice to enrich their children's early learning in both of Canada's official languages."

Under the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, child care providers can apply at any time throughout the year under a new continuous application process.

The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is part of the Province's Childcare BC plan and supports its commitment to give B.C. families access to affordable, quality child care when they want or need it. Since July 2018, the Province has funded more than 4,300 new licensed child care spaces through Childcare BC. More new spaces will be announced as projects are approved.

Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

 Quick Facts:

* Roudoudous is a candy in the shape of sea shells. Les Roudoudous was a toy store in Rimouski, Que., where Dionne grew up and went to college. As a student, she helped the owners and learned about toys, games and work with families. When the owner passed away, Dionne wanted to carry on the legacy of the toy store by naming her daycare after it.

* In addition to new licensed child care spaces, 53 Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites are delivering child care to families at a maximum cost of $200 a month per child.

* Castlegar is home to one prototype site at the Selkirk College Children's Centre, which offers 22 spaces for children under 36 months and 25 spaces for children ages three to five years.

* Prototype sites model what high-quality, affordable, universal child care may look like for B.C. families. Feedback on these sites will help inform government's next steps on the road to universal child care in B.C.

Learn More:

Find out more about prototype sites at: http://childcare.gov.bc.ca/prototypesites

For out more about Childcare BC, visit: http://www.gov.bc.ca/childcare

To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and to apply, visit: http://www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund

To find child care a community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/

Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430

For more information on child care in Castlegar, visit the Castlegar resource and referral centre: https://www.childcarechoices.ca/main/Interior/Trail+and+Castlegar/

To learn about bursaries for early childcare educators: https://news.gov.bc.ca/19422